Broadcasting Code Breaches by Borders Community Radio Station Raises Prospect of Final Warning

A community radio station in the Scottish Borders has breached broadcasting guidelines, according to regulators, Ofcom, for the playing of two songs, each containing 'offensive language'. And it looks like it could be a final warning for the station.

Says Ofcom, Brick FM – broadcasting in and around St Boswells – sought to argue that the use of the word, 'fuck', is commonplace among listeners – hence, justifying the playing of ‘Pass Out’ by Tinie Tempah, which is said to contain the word on five occasions. It added that it believed the word, 'punany' – as featured in another song it played (More Punany, by Dr Evil) – was not slang for 'vagina' but the name of a toasted sandwich sold locally, made of Italian bread with cheese and tomato.

Both songs, says Ofcom, were played by a guest DJ, during Rory's Reggae Roots, 20 minutes apart in the middle of the afternoon on February 23.

According to Ofcom's latest broadcasting bulletin, published today, Brick FM breached a code (1.14) regarding 'offensive' language being broadcast when children are likely to be listening, plus a further code (2.3) requiring context for the use of 'offensive material'.

It added that Brick FM had apologised, saying that it “did not hear the offending words when broadcast”, adding the show was no longer being broadcast.

Says the bulletin: “Regarding the material itself, Brick FM said that a 'punany' was a 'sandwich sold locally and is made of Italian bread with cheese and tomato which is heated up' and therefore did not accept the song, 'More Punany', had sexual connotations. Brick FM also maintained that the word 'fuck' is “a commonly used word in Scotland.”

The regulator notes that in two previous bulletins, “Ofcom recorded breaches of Brick FM's licence conditions regarding the retention of recordings, providing the service described in the station's key commitments and the provision of information to Ofcom to enable monitoring of the station”.

It concluded: “Ofcom therefore has serious concerns about Brick FM's approach to compliance and may consider regulatory action if further breaches occur.”